I woke up this morning and said to myself, “Self, you need to do a blog post, perhaps a positive one since you ripped Urban Meyer in your last post.” I thought about that and responded by saying, “That’s a very good idea Self. What if I did a post about Twitter and Facebook, specifically how the public relations profession views each of them.” So I began planning out what I was going to say by visiting my Facebook page. Lo and behold, what do I see? A post from the PR Breakfast Club, written by Jess Greco:
So, Jess laid out some pretty good points, but the one I really want to expand on is her 4th point:
4. We Understand the Importance of a Public Image:Our business is all about branding and image, and most flacks I know are very smart about what they broadcast through social media because they know it affects how people see them. It’s really hard to limit what people see on your Twitter account (without going completely private) which means you have to think about every tweet before you send it. This is why we tend to use Facebook for our personal lives and are very selective about who we friend (that way only our friends get to see our embarrassing photos!). Thanks to Twitter’s public nature, it’s a better platform to share with business associates.
I think she touches on something here. I think most professionals view Twitter as the “office” social media and Facebook as the “home” social media. Why doesn’t #journchat take place on Facebook? Because we are much more selective in who we choose to allow into our Facebook world (unless you’re me with 900+ friends (Don’t judge. It makes me feel popular). Twitter is all about information; be it personal, professional, or breaking news. When is the last time you heard about a breaking news story on Facebook? How about Twitter? Now think about what you use Facebook for as opposed to Twitter.
I use Facebook to keep in touch with friends from high school, college, and other stops in my life. To be completely honest, I probably wouldn’t be as good at keeping in touch if it weren’t for Facebook. On the other hand, I don’t follow many people I went to high school or college with on Twitter. It’s nothing against them, but since I use Twitter to keep up on the heartbeat of the industry, news from around the world, or randomness, I want to network with people I don’t know. Jess makes a really good point about Facebook. When you post something on your wall, it tends to stay in that group of friends (generally speaking). If I post something on Twitter, and one of my followers from Europe, Australia, Chicago, New York, LA, or wherever retweets it, my information is now in front of hundreds, if not thousands, of other people.
Facebook is very segmented. You have certain groups of people you interact with based upon who you choose to friend. On Twitter, it’s one gigantic community, all sharing information. I see RT’s from people I’ve never heard of every single day in my Twitter feed. On the other hand, the same 16 people I’ve never met have been in my “People You Might Know” folder for the past six months on Facebook. Your chances of connecting with someone who will be a help professionally, or personally, are much greater on Twitter.
Here’s another angle to think about. When the Great Twitter Outage of 2009 happened last fall, people everywhere freaked out. It went beyond annoyance. If Facebook were to crash, and not be up for the rest of the day, would you be legitimately concerned about how you’ll communicate with your professional contacts, or would it be a big annoyance? I’d argue, at least in my case, it’s the latter. Facebook has taken on some of the qualities that drove people from MySpace to it in the first place. Mafia Wars. FarmVille, Fish World. All of these games and applications clogged up my news feed to the point where I blocked those applications from invites and repeat offenders were hidden from my news feed. But, here’s the reason WHY all of those games are on Facebook; people view it as a SOCIAL site. Twitter, however, is viewed as a professional networking site, much more like your office than your house.
I’m friends with mothers of all ages on Facebook. They post about how much, or little, their kids slept the night before, what they had for breakfast, etc. I’m also friends with mothers of all ages on Twitter. They post about their kids here and there, but it’s not everything they post. THAT is the biggest distinction in my mind. Facebook information is of a more personal nature, while on Twitter it is more of a public nature. Facebook is the “5 to 8″ information while Twitter is “8 to 5″. That’s not to say Twitter doesn’t have a social aspect. It certainly has a water cooler nature to it with people chatting about last night’s game, breaking news, or Justin Bieber. However, the useful information shared on Twitter far outweighs the Justin Bieber tweets. At least in my feed.
What about you? Do you see Twitter as more professional than Facebook? Tell me what you think in the comments.
University of Florida head football coach Urban Meyer dressed down a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel during spring practice yesterday. Jeremy Fowler, the reporter in question, writes about the confrontation here. The video of the confrontation is found here.
Coaches have a responsibility to defend their players to the media when necessary. Meyer took Fowler’s original column (which he has linked in the column I linked to earlier) as a slam on Tim Tebow, referring to “our players”. Well, here’s the thing. Tebow isn’t one of his players any more, and folks outside of Gainesville have some serious questions as to whether or not he can be an effective NFL quarterback.
When coaches go off on the media, they end up either looking ridiculous (e.g. Mike Gundy or Dan Hawkins), or like Meyer did yesterday. Meyer came off looking like an overprotective father-figure, defending someone, that quite frankly, doesn’t need defending. Publicly threatening to ban someone for honest and accurate reporting you don’t like is not an option. All it does is INCREASE the respectability and credibility of that reporter. Which, and I am speculating here, is the exact opposite of what Meyer wanted to have happen to Fowler. Threatening to ban a someone for this kind of reporting is bad for your image and reputation.
Think about it this way. If Fowler’s column had been completely off-base and the quote from wide receiver Deonte Thompson taken completely out of context, no one would be railing against Meyer today. They’d be praising him for defending his players and calling out shoddy reporting. Doing it in a public setting, around live mics/cameras/recorders is saying that on the record. He should know better than that. Meyer should have asked to have a private word with Fowler…OFF THE RECORD. During that conversation, he should have calmly explained his issues with Fowler’s column. Fowler probably would not have agreed, or retracted, the column, but at least they would understand where each other are coming from.
The biggest mistake Meyer made was losing his temper; especially since he’s dealing with stress related illnesses (which Meyer look all the worse). Getting angry in this instance comes off as just being a jerk. I’m sure Meyer thought it was righteous anger, but it clearly was not. Becoming visibly angry in public or on the record, is rarely a good idea for you or your clients. Frankly, the PR lesson to take from all of this is the same as the one to take from the Nestle fallout. Never approach a situation with a holier-than-thou attitude or of having the moral high ground. Even if you DO have that position, getting angry with the other party never turns out well for you. Gundy and Hawkins both had great points, but they were lost in the aftermath because they got angry.
It’s a lesson you can apply to practically every sector of your life. Don’t lose your cool. Bad things happen when you do.
Starting on April 5th, I’ll be the Marketing Module Coordinator for the Boys and Girls Club of West Central Missouri here in Sedalia. To say I’m excited would be an understatement. I’ll be teaching marketing and public relations to six groups of teenagers in the Sedalia area. There are many upsides to this. First and foremost, I’m off the government dole. Secondly, as much as I love Columbia and plan on staying as involved in the community there as I can, no more hour-long commutes to work. Third, I get to face some new challenges as a teacher. I’ve never, ever, thought of myself as such, but it’s less about passing my knowledge on to these kids and more about helping them figure out their own thought processes.
I’ve also accepted a position as an independent contractor for INK, inc in Kansas City. The beauty of this position, which entails media relations work, is that I can do it from home and it is flexible enough that I can work around my hours at BGC. I got confirmation on both positions today and I couldn’t be happier.
I’m looking forward to both jobs and the challenges they bring. Not to mention the stories and life lessons that I’m sure will come along with both. So, for now, I celebrate, and give you the best picture I can think of to describe my elation:
Last week Valerie Simon asked for some ideas about how colleges/universities can include students in their branding processes. While I wasn’t involved with this when I was in college, I have a relevant example (obviously, or I wouldn’t be writing this post).
I’ll have been out of college for nine years come this May. When I chose to attend Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, I chose to do so because of its outstanding mass communications program(s). I originally decided to give BVU the time of day because they harassed me so much. I got more mail from BV than I did any other potential school. It ended up being the right fit for me, due to many reasons that you probably don’t care about…so let’s move on.
If there was one thing I was absolutely convinced of as a 20-year old college student, it was that the people in charge had no idea what they were doing. Because, when you are 20 years old, NO ONE, save for you and your friends, know what’s REALLY happening or what others are thinking about. Of course, I quickly realized once I left school that I was a moron for every entertaining that thought process.
When I was a senior, this would have been the 2000-01 school year, BVU launched a new ad campaign, loosely based on Dr. Suess books. That year BVU was the first school in the country to have both a wireless network in place, and give a laptop to each student they would use for two years, then turn in, and then get a new one to use for their final two years. So, the ad campaign talked about how you could use your laptop anywhere on campus, even down by the lake! (I’m still not sure if that was actually true. Maybe on a good day when the wind was blowing the WiFi signal that way.) Sadly, it appears those ads don’t exist, except for being burned into my memory.
What I do remember is that even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of the campaign, I was VERY glad they engaged students in every step of the process. The result was a campaign that gained LOTS of attention. I don’t have any ROI stats to throw at you, but I do have the experiences of everyone I knew asking me about the campaign because they knew I was associated with Buena Vista.
Here’s the thing about college students. They often think so differently from professionals that the pros wouldn’t even have considered ideas a younger generation with a different perspective has. No matter how much you think you’re like this guy:
In reality, you are probably more like this guy in the eyes of prospective students:
And that’s the audience colleges and universities should be most concerned with reaching, isn’t it? Alumni, donors, boosters; they are all extremely important as a secondary revenue source, no doubt. However, if you aren’t bringing new blood into your organization, those other streams of income eventually dry up. So, here’s some quick ideas on how to get students involved:
1. Publicize it. Approach the marketing and public relations students, they obviously know the industry better than the rest of the student population. However, the rest of the student population might not be as concerned with impressing potential employers/referrers and have a different perspective on the campaign. That’s not to say they’ll be great ideas, but who’s to say they’d be terrible? Remember, it’s not just marketing and/or public relations students you are trying to attract. Let the campus know what’s going on and engage as many different sectors of it as possible.
2. Keep Mom and Dad in mind. College students come up with some great ideas. Like Facebook. Or Taco Bell runs at 4 a.m. But they aren’t ALL great ideas. The first person you need to convince to attend Higher Learning College of Universityville (HLCU) is Suzy or Johnny B. Prospect. The 2nd person(s) you need to convince are Mom and Dad Prospect. Let’s be honest. Mom and Dad are usually the ones footing the bill for (at least) 4 years of college. Most parents will entertain the thought of their offspring attending, within reason, any school. However, if they run across your campaign and don’t connect with it at some level, they may discourage your prospective student from pursuing HLCU.
3. Don’t try to close the deal. Your campaign shouldn’t be about convincing students to attend HCLU. It should be about getting them to entertain the possibility of attending HCLU. Why’s that? Simple. Anyone who decides to attend a school based on a print and/or 30-second ad they heard on the radio or TV probably isn’t going to be as dedicated a student, or as likely to become an alumni/booster/donor than someone who sees the same ad, makes the 2 hour drive to Universityville, falls in love with the campus and books his or her spot immediately. If you think about it, isn’t that the case with every campaign? We’re trying to get people to attend an event, go to a store, visit a website, etc. with our campaigns. Once we get them there, it’s up to the client to close the deal. Take the BVU ad campaign for example. It promoted the WiFi campus, which at the time, was incredibly rare. That’s not selling the outstanding Siebens Business School, the incredible mass media programs, stellar education, or anything else. The sole goal of that campaign was to get prospective students to Storm Lake.
With that, I’ll leave you with one final piece of nostalgia from my past. This is a video from Founders Day 2008. Founders Day is the first day freshmen are on campus. At the 34-second mark, a group of BVU cheerleaders perfrom a routine known as “The Beaver Train”. This was performed by many students, particularly during athletic events, but also late at night, typically after midnight during the weekends. For no particular reason whatsoever:
The first detail is that Sam and I have decided on the time and format of #cookchat. The world premiere of #cookchat will be on Sunday, April 11th at 8 p.m. CDT. We want to conduct #cookchat in the same format as many of the chats you currently enjoy and attend including #journchat, #jobhuntchat, and others. We want your questions about cooking, restaurants, food, and other similar questions. Questions about how much I weigh or what effect #cookchat could have on my waistline are not welcome.
So, that’s what we want #cookchat to look like. Any good chat hinges on the participation level of the chatters; not the moderators. So, we do not want this turning into a chat where only high-end foods and cooking methods are discussed. That is NOT what we want from #cookchat. However, we DO want those subjects included in the discussion! We want everyone from the college student learning the joys of Ramen and hot dogs to the most exclusive executive chefs around the country taking part in #cookchat.
The point is this: We all love food. Some enjoy going out to eat more than cooking themselves, others, vice versa. We want you to feel comfortable discussing your love of food during #cookchat. So, Sam and I have developed a few rules we hope will establish an environment that will produce the next Iron Chef.
1. Play nice. We are hoping for disagreements and lively discussions. Let’s face it…this will get really boring, really fast, if we aren’t debating whether or not the best pizza on earth originates in Chicago or New York. However, calling each other jackasses because of differing opinions doesn’t work anywhere except for political talk shows. And a political talk show, this is not.
2. Drop a knowledge bomb. You are smarter than I am. Especially when it comes to cooking. One of my favorite cooking practices is to round-up everything in the fridge that looks like it might taste good together, throw it in the crock pot, and see what happens. This has been heavenly, as well as Dante’s Inferno-7th-level-of-hell disastrous for me as well. We want ALL levels of knowledge participating in #cookchat. Just because you don’t know how to make crème brûlée, doesn’t mean you can’t think of a different way of cooking it! That’s the beauty of cooking…it’s kind of like PR…everyone’s style is a little different.
3. Don’t ask Matt what toll #cookchat is having on his waistline. Seriously. The Wii Fit practically screamed at me this morning. Any low-fat recipes are more than welcome in the LaCasse household. That said, if you have something that could end up on This Is Why You’re Fat, I want to see it. Especially if it looks like this:
I think that just about covers it. If we need to add more rules as we go along, we certainly will. As you can see, we’re leaving the content a little open at this point. That’s because we haven’t got it completely hammered out yet. We have some ideas, but we want YOUR ideas too! Send them to cookchat [at] gmail [dot] com or to lacamat [at] gmail [dot] com.
I’m also pleased to report that Sam and her minions at Mizzou are developing a logo for #cookchat. Once that’s up, be on the lookout for an official #cookchat blog and/or website! Very exciting stuff. My fat cells are tingling with anticipation! So, leave your comments in the, um, comments. What topics do you want covered in #cookchat? What do you WANT from #cookchat? Let’s hear it!
I mean that in all sincerity. I’ve long enjoyed Bilas’ take on college basketball, putting him in the same league as Peter Gammons as far as “sports experts that if their opinion differs from mine, I will change my opinion to fit theirs immediately”. Ok, maybe not every single time, but guys like Gammons and Bilas know what they’re talking about, and aren’t just flapping their gums, trying to chew up air time like most of the ex-players on Baseball Tonight or on SportsCenter. Especially the NFL guys. Yeesh.
I missed most of the March Madness talk last night for two reasons. 1) My wife is a huge fan of sports, so it was all I could do to capture the remote for the selection show. 2) Field of Dreams was on starting at 5:30 on Versus. To say that’s one of my favorite movies of all time is a bit of an understatement. The Big Lead has a post up this morning lauding Bilas for his analysis of the field last night. One of his quotes:
You have a chance to get in, you’ve gotta play your way in. I just don’t understand all this hand-ringing at the end of the line. It’s the national championship, it should be about the best teams. Not about the teams, ‘I’m just as good as that last one in.’ That’s just not good enough, and we’re wasting too much time on it.
Amen. (You could also apply that to college football, but that’s not just another post, but potentially an entire new blog. ) That quote made me think about how many self-proclaimed public relations/new media/social media “experts” position themselves. The cream of the crop, people like Lauren Fernandez, Mike Schaffer (a hearty handshake and congratulations to him for his big announcement today), and Shonali Burke (I SWEAR I’m not on the take from her, mentioning her in consecutive posts), are thought leaders, moving the industry forward.
The “also-ran” claim to have that knowledge, but they really don’t. They argue they should be included with the top names in PR today, but frankly, they didn’t play their way in. This isn’t to say that everyone not named Lauren, Mike, or Shonali is an also-ran. It is to say that we can see who the real players are. There’s plenty of people there in the middle, like me. I am not an expert at anything other than talking to people. The art of public relations is something I try to learn something new about every day. And really, that’s one of the best ways to determine if you are talking to a Lauren/Mike/Shonali, or if you’re talking to someone who is more interested in the check you’ll give them for their “services”. Constantly proclaiming how smart and/or awesome about PR you are is a sure way to make me question you. Show me your knowledge on your blog, Twitter feed, or anywhere else.
It’s really quite simple. As Jay Bilas might say:
If you can’t make it in this year, you probably can’t really play.
Translate that to PR; If you don’t have original content of your own, you probably can’t really do PR. Here’s hoping I can sponge more knowledge from those smarter than I. Also, with apologies to my Mizzou friends, KU is taking it down this year. Book it.
Confession. I’m not a master chef. Neither is my co-moderator, Sam Ogborn, of the newly created #Cookchat, at least as far as I know. Behold the power of Twitter…we’ve never met face to face, a problem to be remedied tomorrow, yet we are creating a chat sure to dominate Twitter in the months and years to come. Or at least make someone hungry. I mean, like, REALLY hungry. Like these guys:
We were both participating in the #chatmixer event hosted by Justin Goldsborough, Valerie Simon, and Heather Whaling; when an idea of creating a chat that would fill a void missing in the “chatterverse” (copyright pending on chatterverse). Much to our mutual amazement, there isn’t a single cooking or food related chat on Twitter. The mission was at once clear.
So, how to START a chat?! Fortunately, many people seemed genuinely excited about participating in the chat, so getting people to show up (hopefully) won’t be an issue. Cooking and food are pretty diverse topics though, so how do we keep the focus? That’s something we’ll be working on as #cookchat matures and progresses.
Shonali Burke, (and by the way, what an awesome name. It just rolls of the tongue, does it not? Go ahead, try it out loud. I’ll wait….See? Meanwhile I got Matt. What was your name again? Mark? Mike? No? Oh. Matt! So sorry. GAH!!!!!!) has a great post on three questions you need to answer before starting a chat. The answers Sam and I come up with to those questions will determine how successful #cookchat will be.
But what do YOU want #cookchat to look like? Sam and I have some ideas, which we’ll be sharing soon, but frankly, if it’s just her and I tweeting back and forth about food and cooking, this is going to get really boring really fast. What topics would you like covered? Is this about recipes, methods, and favorite foods? Or is it about those topics and the food industry? Those are questions you’ll all have a say in as we move forward. Sam and I are simply attempting to serve as your tour guides.
And with that, a scene from Julie & Julia. Why? A) Because I enjoyed the movie way more than I should have B) It’s a great food-centric film, and as this is a food-centric post, it ties in nicely, and C) I cannot get enough of Meryl Streep impersonating Julia Child:
The Hurt Locker did very well at last night’s Academy Awards, taking away Best Picture, Best Screenplay, and a historic win for Best Director Kathryn Bigelow, the first female director to win the honor, along with three other Oscar’s. While I haven’t seen it yet, it is, nearly, universally adored by critics and audiences alike for its brutal portrayal of the Iraq War, focusing on an Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) team. I say nearly, because there is one specific audience that is calling the movie an insult to veterans.
That group is veterans themselves. In an article published on Newsweek’s website on February 24th, Paul Rieckhoff, leader of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), says this:
The Hurt Locker tries to articulate that experience, but those of us who have served in the military couldn’t help but be distracted by a litany of inaccuracies that reveal not only a lack of research, but ultimately respect for the American military.
That’s a firm statement. He goes on to say:
Tom Tarantino, a former cavalry officer who led patrols in Baghdad told me, “EOD arriving on an unsecured scene alone to find ground forces huddled and hiding together in a courtyard stretched my suspension of disbelief to the breaking point. The portrayal of the ground forces was outright insulting.”
That’s a downright shocking statement. Rieckhoff understands that Hollywood must take some licenses to create an entertaining storyline, and he seemingly has no problem with that. What he does have a problem with is an inaccurate portrayal of he and his fellow veterans. So how does this all tie back to our chosen profession of public relations? Simple. Accuracy matters (sorry to steal KRCG’s tagline, but it is a bit apropos for this post).
This isn’t an assault on The Hurt Locker. I doubt Bigelow and her crew went out of their way to film a movie some veterans find distasteful. What is it then? A gentle reminder to public relations professionals that stretch the truth too far is bad for business. Imagine your client is releasing the Super Gizmodowuzithazit. This will change the way Gizmodowuzithaziting is done forever, or so you write in your press release. You even write a quote from the company’s CEO, Steven Gottenrizich, marveling at how the industry of Gizmodowuzithaziting is forging a new path with the release of this product.
Except, he didn’t say that to you when you talked to him about the product. What he said was, “Our product could potentially innovate the way we do business.” That’s a long way from forging a new path in your industry. This happens all the time, unfortunately. In the race to get the most clicks, placements, views, impressions, etc. stretching the truth to near unbelievable lengths has become the norm for some PR professionals, giving the rest of us a bad name. Most PR pros don’t do this. This is just a reminder; you must be mindful of what you write.
If you didn’t click through and read the Newsweek article, I’d highly recommend that you do. Rieckhoff’s criticism centers on the portrayal of battle. Where he says the movie hits closer to home is its depiction of soldiers readjusting to society. I submit that it is easier for civilians to depict the return home than combat because combat is (I would imagine) so unbelievably gruesome and horrid that any Hollywood depiction is bound to come up short.
Thank you to all of our veterans out there. It will never be enough, but thank you.
Caddyshack is one of my favorite movies, ever. The humor is just as sharp and clever now as it was the day it was written. With the additional time I have on my hands at the moment, I was thinking about how some of the characters from Caddyshack mirror some PR folks I encountered as a radio news reporter and in my time as a public relations professional. So, without further delay:
Full disclosure; Judge Smails is far and away my favorite character in the film. Ted Knight plays him perfectly. Arrogant and oblivious to his status as a buffoon. When it comes to PR though, this is my least favorite person to deal with.
This public relations pro knows it all, or at least thinks he does. He’s absolutely certain that he is in the right, no room for debate, and is willing to do whatever it takes to maintain an image, even if everyone else at the club knows that image is a complete ruse. For example, after walking in on Danny and Lacey, the judge bribes Danny with the scholarship to keep his mouth shut.
These are the people who decree their, or even worse, their client’s position from on high with little or no regard for their kingdom (journalists, bloggers, public in general) down below. And I never came across a single one that I would do business with now or at any other point moving forward. Keep your ego out of it folks. Journalists, by their nature, are pretty good at figuring people out. Approaching a journalist with a story with an attitude of gifting your time, energy and story to said journalist is, 99% of the time, a one way ticket to the circular file.
Ty is a rather interesting character. In several ways, he is a younger version of Judge Smails. He’s the top dog at Bushwoods, and he knows it. The key difference between Ty and the judge is their perception of other people.
PR pros emulating Ty are aware they have information journalists need, and while guarding the needs of clients jealously, want to work with journalists to get their information out to the public. Everyone likes Ty, and he knows it. What he doesn’t do is abuse these relationships to get what he wants. He understands his position, and when push comes to shove, he does what is right. When you put it that way, maybe Ty is the yang to Judge Smails yin, choosing to use his powers to benefit those around him rather than gain more power.
Bottom line is this on the Ty Webb PR Pro: They see the differences between a journalist and themselves, but (usually) choose to do what is right.
The folks out there like our good friend Carl are few and far between. The guy definitely knows how to come up with creative solutions, but the question is whether or not he KNOWS he’s coming up with them. Carl is the guy in your office who walks randomly by your desk, says something completely off the wall, leaves, and 10 minutes later you are trying to figure out how you can implement his idea into your strategy. Or you’re laughing about his idea at happy hour that night. One of the two…there’s just no in between.
When I was a journalist, these were my favorite pitches to get. They were, without exception, completely off the wall. However, that doesn’t mean all of them were bad. When something strikes you as odd, don’t dismiss it out of hand. Some of the best story ideas I have come from the strangest of places. We all need a Carl in our office to keep us on our toes and keep our thinking outside the proverbial box. Even if I do hate that phrase.
Lacey is all style, and very little substance. What substance she does have is incredibly manipulative. Anyone who relies on manipulation to attain their goals will have the house of cards fall down around them eventually. This style of PR isn’t nearly as effective as those who practice it would believe. Journalists have a nose for when they’re being hawked a bunch of crap. Don’t underestimate that fact.
I think Danny Noonan is the kind of PR person we should all aspire to. When push comes to shove, he does what he knows is right, scholarship be damned.
I would liken Danny’s situation to a PR crisis situation. On one hand, you have the Judge Smails approach; deny and cover. I cannot think of a worse thing to do than to deny and cover. This tactic makes you, and/or your client, look scared, cowardly, and worst of all, guilty. Don’t be that guy. If you encounter a crisis, the number one rule is to tell the truth.
Think about it this way. When you were a kid, what were your parents more angry about? The fact that you took an extra cookie from the cookie jar after being told not to, or lying about it? If your parents are anything like mine, it was definitely the latter. Step up and do the right thing like Noonan. Admitting a mistake is NOT a bad thing. If anything, it allows you to control the conversation rather than allowing endless speculation by the media and public.
I don’t really have anything for Al. I just love this picture.
Who are you most like? I’d like to think I’m Noonan, most of the time at least, always trying to do the right thing. The best PR pros probably have a bit of all five in them. Let’s hear it in the comments! Who did I leave out? What did I leave out of these thoughts?
Burning bridges. Is there ever a good or right time to do it? Niki Pocock has a post on that at her blog It’s All Wrong, which she spends asking that question. I have the feeling this is not a yes or no kind of topic, rather it will depend on who you are as a person. I’ll take a shot at answer it though.
In my experience, burning bridges in the professional world has never been an option. You have no idea what the future will hold, or what the person on the other side of that bridge you are burning (presumably an ex-employer or co-worker) will say about you. If there are negative feelings there already, burning a bridge simply adds to the bitterness, and gives your former employer another black mark (from their point of view) to discuss.
Whether or not you want a potential employer to make contact with a former employer, they will do some background checking. Jason Mollica, PR Manager at Carr Marketing Communications in Amherst, NY says this in the comment section of Pocock’s post:
The bottom line? Be smart. But sometimes, it’s inevitable that a bridge will be burned. It shows the type of person you are and the kind of worker you will be for that new employer.
That’s about as well as I can put it. If your former employer wants to burn a bridge, so be it, nothing you can do about that. However, don’t go out of your way to pull a Green Day (may contain NSFW language).
An opposing viewpoint, presented by Arun Manansingh, Chief Information Officer for FusionLatina, LLC from his post inDecember is burning bridges is viewed as a tool, and employed when needed:
There are only so many hours in a day. To be successful you need to be more efficient, get more things done, and prioritize. By keeping every connection and relationship you are bound to get unnecessary calls, e-mails, etc. that will eat up your precious time. Time best served directed at something to make you more successful. If those connections help you, that is great but if they do not, it is time to strike a match.
I disagree. Here’s the thing, perhaps Arun and I just have different definitions of what it means to burn a bridge. To me, that means parting ways, never to return. It is possible he is saying end the professional relationship, and rebuild it if necessary. I’d agree with that, but why reconstruct a bridge if you don’t need to?
Rather than burning a bridge, just agree to disagree with your former employer. Try to part on good terms, or at the very least neutral terms. Nasty office politics that can arise from burning bridges; perhaps we should all just adhere to what our mothers taught us: